Smart PropertyGrid.Net Version 2.0 is a major milestone for developers because it supersedes the Microsoft PropertyGrid in every way. The addition of several critical features makes this custom PropertyGrid developed entirely from scratch the best choice for those who want to include such a control into their desktop applications and who care about the experience of their end users.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 28, 2006 — VisualHint today announced Smart PropertyGrid.Net 2.0, the first custom PropertyGrid capable of delivering a proper end-user experience.
All developers know of the Microsoft PropertyGrid as it is a key component of Visual Studio and its designer. By using reflection, it displays the set of published properties of one or several target instances. This unfortunately is counterbalanced by the lack of requested features, customizations and useful enhancements that would transform this control into a tool that developers can easily integrate into their applications. VisualHint decided to reinvent the PropertyGrid for developers who were hesitant to use the Microsoft PropertyGrid control, as well as for developers who are already at ease with it.
Based on a solid design, Smart PropertyGrid.Net fixes the known shortcomings of its counterpart and adds many capabilities for the end user. VisualHint has listed the main reasons to adopt this custom control at Top 10 reasons to adopt SPG.Net.
Dynamic editing of the content: It is now easy and intuitive to create and edit properties on the fly that can be linked to actual object properties or not. Furthermore, it is possible to append, insert, delete, show, hide, enable or disable any property, category or subcategory.
A vast choice of inplace editors: The Microsoft PropertyGrid offers two inplace controls which are the dropdown button and the standard button for access to modal forms. With SPG, the user has no less than eleven built-in editors and the possibility to create new complex ones with the added benefit of being compatible with all existing UITypeEditor classes. An inplace control can even edit several values in the same row as showcased by the Unit editor (a value and its unit).
Respect of existing techniques: SPG.Net understands the mechanisms used by the Microsoft PropertyGrid like setting its content with SelectedObject(s) and customizing the set of properties that a class makes public (with TypeConverter and ICustomTypeDescriptor classes). This makes porting existing code to the SPG framework an easy task. Even the old and new techniques can be mixed to build the content of the grid.
Overall appearance customization: Built-in drawing managers allow changing the global aspect of the control. The developer can create his own drawing managers to fit the aspect of his application. A drawing manager has access to any part of the PropertyGrid, so there is no difficulty to change the appearance of a +/- glyph or the horizontal line between the grid and the comments area.
Property appearance customization: Besides drawing-manager abilities, a property row can be customized by changing fore and back colors as well as its font and it can be done independently on the label and value parts.
Optional navigation with the Tabulation key, forward and backward, with a quantity of submodes of operation available.
Well thought-out design: The heart of the framework has been separated in three base classes, which allows developers to easily use and extend it. A PropertyFeel class manages the way a property is edited. A PropertyLook class takes care of how it is displayed and at last the PropertyValue class manages what is the data type and where it comes from.
Notifications: The client application receives many notifications to react accordingly.
Customization of external properties: In the Microsoft PropertyGrid, a pen or a font are always displayed the same way based on a published set of properties. The code of those classes is not accessible. SPG, however, can alter this default behavior and let the user choose what to display and how.
Visual quality: Great care has been observed to display every part of the control. Inplace controls are properly aligned up to the pixel and pleasant proportions are used to display text with customizable margins. Accessibility has been taken into account by letting the developer choose every parameter of the drawings.
Smart PropertyGrid.Net 2.0 offers many other capabilities and features, including support for multiline properties, management of tooltips on labels and values, decoration with icons, hyperlinked properties, control of the sorting order of categories and properties, value validation and many more.
Smart PropertyGrid.Net 2.0 works with the .Net framework version 2.0 and is available on Nov. 27, 2006, from http://www.visualhint.com. Pricing starts at $139 (U.S.) per license, with quantity discounts available.
VisualHint is a privately held company, owned by Nicolas Cadilhac, software engineer with more than 10 years experience in software development, specialized in the creation of complex graphical user interfaces. The company also publishes Smart PropertyGrid for MFC at http://www.visualhint.com/index.php…tygrid/spgmfc/, a component that is now free for personal and commercial use.